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Empathy = persuasion.

For those whose only persuasive style is bombast, let me paraphrase Otis Redding: Try a little empathy. For example, note how the good folks at Jack Daniels reacted when someone published a book with a cover emulating the Jack Daniels label. Instead of threats, the letter-writer aimed for persuasion through empathy, with the goal of persuading the other side rather than trying to beat them over the head. The result: everybody won.

Hat tip to Doug in Wisconsin.


p.s. Perhaps Otis’s last performance of “Try a Little Tenderness”:

For courageous writers: Writer’s Diet

Are your prose lean or flabby? If you really want to know, put them on the Writer’s Diet, an on-line test cooked up by Helen Sword. Just copy and paste some of your writing into the little box, run the test, and get back the kind of information about your writing that your doctor gives you about yourself when you get your annual physical.

Speaking of Helen, check out her article in the NYT about nominalizations.